The rain rubs against itself
like a boy in the night.
The body does not
fit into itself.
The rain is not blameless.
It has drowned
the plums and made
the chickens hungry for flesh.
They are hushed in the wet
rag weed. Stirring only to tear apart
a mouse thrown
into their midst. It runs
without eyes, ears, tail,
legs. A blur of blood.
Then stillness. Next the birds
will begin to eat the eggs.
Chicken Heart Pantoum
We slaughter the chickens behind the barn.
They dance like brides with broken high heels.
Their slit throats lay dark garlands on the grass.
Then we cut off their feet with a knife.
But still, they dance like brides with broken high heels.
We burn the innards, wrap the bodies in plastic—
we cut off their feet with a knife.
White feathers waltz across the grass,
we burn the innards, wrap the bodies in plastic,
bury the heart in the woods.
Black feathers waltz, across the grass
the hungry hounds are watching us
bury the heart. In the woods
the barn cats poke among the dead leaves—
the hungry hounds are watching.
Clouds pile up over the pasture. Evening arriving.
The barn cats poke among the dead leaves
behind the barn. The slaughtered chickens
pile up. Clouds over the pasture, evening arriving
to lay its dark garlands on the bloody grass.